Friday Favorites Vol. 8: I Got Tested For Coronavirus, a “Safe” Cookie Dough Recipe, a Staub Dutch Oven for $99!?

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Quarantine is really starting to get to me. Although I’ve been working from home long before our stay-at-home order began, the inability to get some fresh air has affected me. It rained for 9 days straight, so I’ve been cooped up in the house just trying to stay busy with books, TV and video games just to pass the time. It’s been rough trying to sit down and work when I just haven’t been in the mindset for it.

I actually haven’t been in the mood for anything, to be honest. I haven’t been cooking, working, or even craving social contact and I’ve found myself unnaturally irritable, lazy, and emotionally disturbed. Maybe because…

What’s New This Week:

I wasn’t able to publish a new Friday Favorites last week because I fell sick. At first, I thought it was another crazy immune response to some new medicine I was given to help detox the EBV virus that’s been stuck in my liver, but just to be safe, I scheduled an appointment for drive-thru COVID-19 testing. I haven’t yet received my results yet, but Jun and I have already been self-quarantining long before I even got sick again (and will continue to do so).

I came down with a low-grade fever around 100-101 degrees that was on-and-off, some major body aches and weird muscle pains that had me bedridden for a few days. At one point it felt like a repeat of last summer when I was prescribed antibiotics for my viral infection, which knocked out my immune system and allowed the EBV to further proliferate. I’m seriously done with having fevers – I’ve had enough to span across several lifetimes!

For those of you who aren’t aware, drive-thru coronavirus testing is slowly being made available in order to prevent the spread of disease in our hospitals (and toward other patients). I referred to this post and was able to call a location near me for a same-day appointment. Many locations have different policies so I suggest calling beforehand and asking what their procedure is. Keep in mind that you will likely be refused for a test unless you are experiencing symptoms.

I was told I had to drive alone in order to prevent potentially putting someone else at risk (although Jun has been self-quarantining with me already haha). I showed up to the location at my appointment time and was immediately greeted by nurses in scrubs checking me in by my driver’s license that I showed through my window. I was advised to keep my window up the entire time until it was my turn to get tested.

The location was pretty secluded in a quieter part of town and they closed off several streets to ensure that the testing area was far away from the general public. There were quite a few cops monitoring the surrounding area and even a helicopter? Although, I’d like to believe that the helicopter was for something else and not to patrol the area.

There were about 4 drive-thru lanes, so I only waited about 30 minutes until it was my turn. I was then ushered to roll down my window, remove my mask and sit back in my driver’s seat so the nurse could swab my nose. My god, it was the most uncomfortable feeling. She put that swab so far up my nose I thought she was swabbing my brain, hahaha. But I got through it! It was a quick 5 seconds and then I was told I’d be given a phone call with my results within 7-10 business days.

Jun informed his job and was told to stay home until we received the results. I really appreciate that his company is taking appropriate measures to ensure there is no outbreak amongst their employees! So we’ve been taking it easy at home: Jun’s been busy working on his cars and fixing up the house while I rest as I’ve been experiencing shifting symptoms from body aches, stomach discomfort, to random low-grade fevers and moments of serious fatigue. Last week it was pretty bad to the point where I laid in bed for 3 days straight, but as of today, I’m feeling much better with much of my mobility restored and no fever.

Additionally, after much procrastination from pandemic stress and getting sick, I finally started posting on The Magic of Soul’s Instagram. If you’re into astrology, tarot, and all things mystic and new age, please go give my page a follow!

And now onto this week’s Volume 8 of Friday Favorites…

More Friday Favorites:

Beauty: Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo


Remember that incessant itching I’ve had for a straight 5 months from my chronic illness? Well, I’ve been scratching everywhere, which means that I’ve been getting dandruff as a result of scratching my scalp. I always try to go for natural remedies first but I really could not bank on low probabilities of effectiveness anymore: not only was scratching causing more dandruff, but my scalp had become so inflamed and filled with scabs… and I was also losing hair because of it.

I was looking around for dandruff shampoos and heard a lot about Nizoral being most beneficial out of all of the dandruff shampoos because it doesn’t use coal tar (which is known by the State of California to cause cancer) and uses ketaconazole as the active ingredient instead. The formula is surprisingly non-drying and almost immediately soothed my hot and itchy scalp. 

I already wash my hair only 2-3 times per week, so sticking to that regimen plus replacing my regular shampoo with Nizoral has actually greatly reduced my dandruff and also allowed my hair to start growing back as a result of less itching!  I highly recommend it if you’re struggling with dandruff – I realize the price per ounce is more costly than Head and Shoulders, but it was really effective for me and I saw results just after the first use (I’ve used it about 4 times over the past 2 weeks).

Style: Vida PM 2.5 Protective Mask (4-Pack)

1/$10, 4-pack/$36

Although there are a lot of great easy-to-follow tutorials on making DIY face masks out there, I wanted to have a handful of purchased masks to reduce the mechanical labor I do with my hands (meticulous sewing and cutting flares my Raynaud’s up really easily). I also realize that a lot of people may not have a sewing machine or the time to make their own, so affordable options for masks are a must-have right now. Vida is currently selling some great-quality masks at $10 each or 4 for $36, which is more than reasonable! They’re also offering 15% off sitewide with code “BETTERTOGETHER,” so that roughly covers the cost of shipping.

10% of profits will be donated to SF-Marin Food Bank & Food Bank NYC to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Food: Edible Cookie Dough Recipe

Has anybody else besides me been stress baking and stress eating desserts? I, for one, have been doing this a lot (even though I know I should really be avoiding sugar right now with being sick, but, I can’t help it, I’m emotional). I was craving some chocolate chip cookies but we finally ran out of eggs, so I decided to make some egg-less “safe” edible cookie dough to satisfy my craving. This recipe is surprisingly simple and is modified to heat-treat the flour so there is no risk of salmonella poisoning (raw flour is actually usually the culprit of salmonella poisoning from raw batter – not eggs!). 

You can also make this with Swerve brown sugar for a sugar-free option or Earth Balance or Miyoko’s vegan butter to go dairy-free. You won’t taste the difference – I used Swerve and Miyoko’s and it was divine.

Health: HealthForce Superfoods Truly Natural Vitamin C (Not derived from Ascorbic Acid)


The last time I went to the grocery store in early March, I couldn’t help but notice that the shelves were wiped clean of vitamin C due to the pandemic. It’s been sold out everywhere online too. The vitamin C effectiveness argument has always been a fascinating one to me because there is a huge misconception that ascorbic acid is the type of vitamin C we need, when in fact ascorbic acid is a synthetic vitamin C which is not bioavailable (which means the likelihood of your body absorbing it is very low and you will likely just excrete it through your urine!). The supplement industry pushes ascorbic acid to continue making money, but the reality is that you would be more likely to absorb vitamin C through fruits and vegetables rather than taking a 1000mg tablet of ascorbic acid. Here’s a great article along with references at the footnotes that summarizes how ascorbic acid works and why you need Vitamin C in its complex form along with co-existing nutrients to make it bioavailable – not as a fractionated isolate.

Look for supplements labeled as “natural vitamin C” and check the back label if it’s made of ascorbic acid. Natural vitamin C in supplement form is popularly derived from acerola cherry extract. And yes, it’s more expensive than your grocery store-brand Vitamin C, but I figure that if you’re going to spend money on supplements, you might as well make sure you’re using something that’s actually effective! Ascorbic acid may also cause gastrointestinal upset in some people, so if that’s you, consider taking a smaller dose of acerola-derived Vitamin C and see what happens.

Home: $414 Staub Dutch Oven on Sale for $99!

$414 $99.96

YOU GUYS. I’ve had my heart set on a good quality dutch oven for years now, and just this morning I bit the bullet and bought this gorgeous Staub Dutch oven. If you don’t know what a Dutch oven is, trust me when I say this will revolutionize your cooking.

Dutch ovens are used for roasts, soups, braises and basically anything and everything. You cook things slow in a Dutch oven much like a Crock Pot slow cooker, but the Dutch oven does a far better job at caramelizing and melding the flavors – plus, the lid is much tighter so it does a better job at keeping meats moist and reducing the evaporation that gets released through the lid of a slow cooker – do you know how often I’ve burnt stuff in the slow cooker even though I’ve followed the directions to the T? It was because of evaporating liquids!

A lot of the slow cooker recipes I use also call for searing the meat or sauteeing the food prior to putting it in the slow cooker, which adds more pans to wash. You can simply sear the meat and prep the food in the Dutch oven on the stove and then move it to the oven, grill, or keep it on a simmer on the stove (true one-pot cooking). And because it’s enameled, it’s much easier to clean than a cast iron, but still offers a delicious flavor similar to cast iron.

Le Creuset and Staub are the leaders of Dutch ovens because their products are meticulously made in France, and many Chinese-made Dutch ovens often can’t withstand the test of time – they might shatter, crack, or the enamel will wear off more easily. But Le Creuset and Staub are also normally priced around $300 – $400. Seeing this 4-qt cocette (French word for “French oven”) is on sale for just under $100, you have to buy it if you’ve been thinking about a Dutch oven. This price is insane, and the sale ends today!

Ps. if you can’t pick between Le Creuset or Staub, I’ve heard Staub’s lid has a tighter fit and lets out less evaporation than Le Creuset. Staub’s lid is also textured with self-basting spikes, which allows the collected moisture to drip back into the food and keep it moist.

Lifestyle: One Line a Day 5- Year Journal


I’ve always journaled inconsistently, but ever since I started using this One Line A Day: 5 Year Journal on a daily basis since January of last year, I think my ability to practice gratitude and recall memories with fondness has increased fivefold. This small journal has a single-sentence journal entry for each day of the year, so you can maintain your journaling practice without taking too much time out of your day. But since it has enough room for 5 years,  you can reflect on what happened on the same day of previous years you’ve already written entries for as you write a new entry. It’s really thoughtful and allows you to document your memories in a simple and manageable way.

I keep mine on my bedside table and make sure to fill it out before going to bed; it takes me less than 60 seconds to do, so it’s not intrusive to my daily schedule at all. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves to journal or is looking to start journaling without being overwhelmed by more daunting methods like bullet journaling.

Entertainment: Parasite

I am so late to this movie… but if you haven’t yet watched it, it’s a must. I’ve always loved the storytelling of Korean films and Tartan Asia-style movies, and this movie delivers on a truly unique plot, amazing acting and cinematography. It’s no wonder they were the first foreign film to take home Academy Award for Best Picture (and many other awards too!).

Parasite looks like it might be a horror movie, but it’s not. It’s a suspenseful drama of a poor con artist family exploiting a rich family under their nose and trying not to get caught. Sounds simple enough, but there are so many incredible layers to the plot that makes this movie worth a watch. It’s literally become one of my favorite movies of all time.

Even if you don’t like watching dubbed foreign films, don’t let that turn you off from watching this! Jun hates reading dubbed movies but he could not stop watching this. 

You can watch it on Hulu. If you don’t have a subscription, you can try it for free for 30 days!

Blog: How To Sew A Face Mask With Filter Pocket (NO ELASTIC!)

Although I ordered several masks online, I still made some masks using unused materials I had at home by following this really helpful blog post. This mask might be a little more on the technical side for brand-spanking-new sewing hobbyists, but this mask models after medical masks and has a pocket to insert a filter! I wound up using polypropylene fabric from a few unused reusable grocery bags I had lying around for the outer layer and ties (polypropylene is actually used to make medical-grade masks) and then a nonstretch cotton fabric for the inner layer. Jun also had disposable shop towels already lying around so I cut those up to use as the filters (The New York Post actually published an article showing the effectiveness of using these shop towels as filters!)

Granted, there are so many different tutorials online that might be easier, but this is one that I found helpful to sew an extra layer for a filter insert. Additionally, you can modify this mask by using an elastic in place of the ties.

This Week’s Quote: “Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the action in the face of fear.” – Mark Messier

The world is definitely feeling a lot of fear and uncertainty right now, and that’s completely understandable with the pandemic that’s affected us all. But I just wanted to share this quote as a reminder that being brave does not mean you are completely absent of fear, but are simply choosing to rise in spite of the fear that you have. 

Fear makes us do or say things outside of what we normally would: we can grow impulsive, irrational, or even a bit hurtful towards each other. But to say that we must be free of fear during this time is frankly impossible: we are going to feel fear – we’re human! We need to allow ourselves the ability to be frightened instead of vilifying this feeling and then move through these feelings of fear – which means choosing to move forward despite still being afraid.

Without fear, there would be nothing to be brave for. We can’t have one without the other. It’s okay to be afraid, but we just have to learn how to master fear in order to step into our courage.

That’s it for this week’s Friday Favorites! If you liked Volume 8, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter below so you get informed as soon as I hit publish on a new Friday Favorites post. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

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1 Comment

  1. / 5:52 pm

    I hope you are safe and okay. Thanks for sharing how the testing process is with us. Let us know what happens. On a brighter side, I need to make that cookie dough recipe as soon as possible OMG!

    Gina Checchia

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